Corpus Christi in Savièse


Category:
Social practices
  • Performing arts
  • Traditional craftsmanship
Canton:

Description

Every year five villages take it in turns to organise the feast of Corpus Christi in Savièse, a region in central Valais. The festivities begin at 5 am with the "diane", played in front of the houses of the nine members of the festival committee in the host village. At 7.30 am everyone assembles in front of the community hall. The local flag is raised, the officer's lance ("sponton") is collected from the "capetan's" house and the local banner from the "banneret". The highlight of the day is the procession, which begins at 9 am and which has expanded since its beginnings to include a children's group. It conveys the consecrated Host in the monstrance through the village of St Germain and on to the church where High Mass is held. The combined effect of the different spoken, musical, choreographic and visual elements transform this religious festival into an entertaining spectacle The secular part of the event follows, starting with a midday meal and continuing with celebrations in the village. Afternoon festivities are interrupted only by the Vespers service in the church at 3 pm.

Over the years the Feast of Corpus Christi in Savièse has reacted to changes in society without relinquishing its uniqueness.

Image gallery

  • The Granois village Corpus Christi procession marching into St Germain © Thomas Antonietti, 1999
  • The “sergent des grenadiers” © Jean-Yves Glassey/Geschichtsmuseum Wallis, Sitten, 1989
  • The procession: the “capetan” in the foreground, the military and drummers behind © Jean-Yves Glassey/Geschichtsmuseum Wallis, Sitten, 1990
  • The children’s group being led by the “tsanbri” wearing a decorated felt hat and carrying a sceptre © Jean-Yves Glassey/Geschichtsmuseum Wallis, Sitten, 1990
  • Female procession participants in local traditional dress © Jean-Yves Glassey/Geschichtsmuseum Wallis, Sitten, 1990
  • The priest blessing followers at an outdoor altar with the monstrance © Thomas Antonietti, 1999
  • The Grenadiers of Ormône marching back to their village in the late afternoon © Bretz, Savièse, 2006
  • Granois village residents taking part in the 1934 Savièse Corpus Christi feast © Raymond Schmid/Mediathek Wallis, Martigny
  • The inaugural speech of Sergeant François-Joseph Varone from the village of Ormône, given on 2 June 1831 © Privatarchiv Savièse
  • The Granois village Corpus Christi procession marching into St Germain © Thomas Antonietti, 1999
  • The “sergent des grenadiers” © Jean-Yves Glassey/Geschichtsmuseum Wallis, Sitten, 1989
  • The procession: the “capetan” in the foreground, the military and drummers behind © Jean-Yves Glassey/Geschichtsmuseum Wallis, Sitten, 1990
  • The children’s group being led by the “tsanbri” wearing a decorated felt hat and carrying a sceptre © Jean-Yves Glassey/Geschichtsmuseum Wallis, Sitten, 1990
  • Female procession participants in local traditional dress © Jean-Yves Glassey/Geschichtsmuseum Wallis, Sitten, 1990
  • The priest blessing followers at an outdoor altar with the monstrance © Thomas Antonietti, 1999
  • The Grenadiers of Ormône marching back to their village in the late afternoon © Bretz, Savièse, 2006
  • Granois village residents taking part in the 1934 Savièse Corpus Christi feast © Raymond Schmid/Mediathek Wallis, Martigny
  • The inaugural speech of Sergeant François-Joseph Varone from the village of Ormône, given on 2 June 1831 © Privatarchiv Savièse

References and documentation

Publications
  • Thomas Antonietti: «Für Gott und Vaterland». Streiflichter auf das kirchliche Brauchtum im Wallis». In: Alpenbräuche. Riten und Traditionen in den Alpen. Ed. Gerlinde und Hans Haid. Bad Sauerbrunn, 1994, p. 13-28.

  • Fondation Anne-Gabrielle et Nicola-V. Bretz: Fête-Dieu à Granois 10 juin 2004 (DVD). Savièse 2004

  • Fondation Anne-Gabrielle et Nicola-V. Bretz (Ed.) : Fête-Dieu à Savièse. Savièse, 2008

  • Basile Luyet : Le coutumier annuel de Savièse. In : Cahiers valaisans de folklore 18. Lausanne, 1930

  • Mario [Marie Troillet]: Un Vieux Pays. Croquis valaisans. Lausanne, 1889

  • Rosemarie Roten Dumoulin: La Fête-Dieu à Savièse. In : Présences 35. Pully, 1988, p. 75-79

Documentation